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Hush Puppy Dipping Sauce

The fried catfish you probably didn’t make to go with the hush puppies would be superb under this sauce as well.

About ¾ cup


10 minutes


Southerners have very specific notions about what condiments hush puppies should come into contact with—if any. If the pups are served as a side with fried fish—as tradition intended them—they might have a brush with condiments meant for the fish, like tartar or cocktail sauce. If they are served with barbeque, as has become their fate, they’ll roll up against a pile of coleslaw or slip on a fork with some savory field peas. When they’re thrown down on the table instead of bread—as they are in some barbeque restaurants—nothing can save them.

Ultimately, hush puppy dipping sauce boils down to personal preference. You might not want to dip them in anything but your mouth. We love the rough-and-tumble variant below, a homemade mayonnaise blended with a little commercial ketchup and melted butter that borrows from the cocktail and tartar sauce traditions and winds up being, well, now that you mention it, a bit like Thousand Island dressing. Jeepers! It has minced onion, of course, because hush puppies do like a bit of zing, no matter what, and a good balance of sweet, tart, smooth and rich. We didn’t add any minced pickle in the photographed sauce, but you could. A pinch of celery seed also tastes lovely in this sauce. Of course, homemade ketchup from the colonial era would be very nice, but don’t worry if you aren’t up to it (we weren’t): the ketchup is but a gleam in the hush puppy’s eye.

equipment mise en place

For this recipe, you will need a food processor and a rubber spatula.

    • 2
      large egg yolks, room temperature
    • ½
      teaspoon Dijon mustard
    • 1
      teaspoon juice from 1 large, juicy lemon, plus additional to taste

    • ½
      cup good-quality olive oil
    • 3
      tablespoons (1.5 ounces) unsalted European-style butter, melted and warm
    • 3
      tablespoons ketchup
    • 3
      tablespoons minced sweet onion
    • Cayenne pepper to taste
    • Fine sea salt
    • 2
      tablespoons minced dill pickle (optional)

    • ½
      teaspoon celery seed (optional)
  1. Place the egg yolks in a food processor workbowl and process until they begin to thicken somewhat, about a minute or so. Add the mustard and lemon juice, and continue processing for 30 seconds. Begin drizzling in the oil a little at a time at first, scraping down the bowl if necessary. When all the oil has been added, drizzle in the butter. The sauce should be thick and shiny. Stir in the ketchup, onion, cayenne, and ½ teaspoon salt by hand. Taste for seasoning, adding additional lemon juice, cayenne, and/or salt if you wish. Stir in the minced pickle and celery seed, if using. Serve with hot Hush Puppies.